A video of a man being shot to death by police as he sat in handcuffs has been released.
An El Paso police officer pulled his Taser gun after drawing his handgun and fatally shot the man at the Downtown Jail last year.
The video of the March 8, 2013, shooting death of bodybuilder Daniel Saenz was released after the Texas Attorney General’s Office ordered the city to comply with an open-records request made by the El Paso Times in February. The video was requested after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Jose Flores in the shooting.
Jim Jopling, a lawyer with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) representing Flores, said in a statement that the group believes the grand jury cleared Flores because of “the totality of the circumstances, which include the long sequence of events that came before the shooting itself.”
Saenz, 37, had been arrested that day on assault charges after allegedly attacking an off-duty police officer and staff at Del Sol Medical Center, where he had been taken after he was found exhibiting bizarre behavior at an Alberstons supermarket on Yarbrough Drive.
The jail video released Monday starts with Saenz shirtless, handcuffed behind his back and sliding sitting on the floor as he is dragged by Flores and an unnamed prisoner transport guard.
Officials say Saenz was being transported from the jail to a hospital. Jail staff had refused to accept him because as he was being walked into the jail, he “Struck his own head into the doorway causing himself injury.”
In the video, blood appears to be on Saenz’s face. Once he is dragged outside, the officer and guard appear to talk to him as he sits on the sidewalk. In the video, Saenz is seen struggling with officers after they stand him up. He falls to the ground but keeps trying to get up with two men on top of him.
At first Flores appears to reach for the Taser in his left holster. When Saenz pushes off another guard, Flores draws his Glock semi-automatic handgun from his right holster. The guard moves away and fires a single shot.
After turning Saenz over, Flores begins CPR before paramedics arrive. Saenz died at the hospital, with an autopsy finding that the bullet traveled from Saenz’s shoulder into his chest.
Police Chief Greg Allen said there was an administrative investigation into Flores’s actions. The result of the internal investigation and Flores’s current status in the police department were not immediately available.
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